Entrepreneurship, Boomers, and the Golden Years. If you are a Boomer or a Senior - this 10 hour Video Course is specifically designed for you! Creating an income when you are in your mid 40's and beyond is fraught with peril. This time tested and proven (have spent over 50 years starting and running many high tech operations) entrepreneur will help you decide what direction to go and how to avoid many of the $80 billion dollars’ worth of scams and frauds (a US number for 2016) that are designed to live off of unaware or trusting individuals like yourself. What you will find are examples of what works in the real world, how to minimize your exposure, and a multitude of practical approaches that were tested in the “trenches of reality” and not a “check list” written by an academician. Additionally - for those that are interested there are detailed summaries of how our Government is financed and who gets what - written in easy to understand non MBA verbiage plus simple pie charts. For anyone who is considering a “second career” either out of desire or out of a necessity – this course is mandatory! The cost of this course is purposely set to be no more than a few six-packs so it is within reach of everyone. The knowledge that you will be armed with when you complete it is “PRICELESS!”
The comments, thoughts, ideas and suggestions that follow are not found in Entrepreneurship 101 at the local JC. These are the accumulation of tens of thousands of hours of “in the trench fighting!” In many cases – the “how’s and the why’s” are as or more important than the result.
The Resource Link that I have added will show several pictures of Jack London's Wolf House in the Valley of the Moon a little North of San Francisco. It is an easy walk from the parking area (maybe 20 minutes if my memory serves me correctly) and if your ever in the area - it is a worth while visit. Ample wineries in the area to make it an interesting day.
The Internet – although new – has been around long enough that some youngsters cannot imagine a world without it. Kids use it as easily as they put on shoes and socks. Not so with Boomers and Seniors. This is causing a “Digital Divide!” This lecture touches on that problem.
Taleb’s Randomness - Taleb also authored “The Black Swan.” Here he addresses the fallibility of human knowledge and how events that happen rarely are the result of those of us who think we were in control. This Lecture shows a perfect example of what went on “before success took over!”
We all are a little envious (admit it) when we see someone who appears to become really successful
This is particularly true when we see something when there was no apparent months, years, and decades of grueling work that someone or some group put into a project. Our society tends to hold up “winners” in all categories of work related vocations and even avocations and the amount of financial rewards that are given these days are really “out of whack” with reality.
The truth of the matter is – statistically the majority of situations which are held up as the Gold Standard of Success either are a “statistical oddity or we don’t see the effort that went before fame and the financial rewards involved.
Seeing the "body of work" that Picasso did really applies to the work that goes into any "so called over night success!" Most of us when we view someone who is successful rarely get a complete picture of what it took to get there. Many of the "over nite successes" we see took years of hard work which is never seen.
We live in a world today where we are buried in information. Extracting what we need and no more is necessary if we are to be able to make progress on things that are important to us. I attended the graduation speech given by Carli Fiorini at Stanford in 2001 as my youngest son graduated at that time. I cannot say that I am a fan of Carli but she gave an excellent talk with some ideas that were worth remembering for each and every graduating Senior. The point she makes is one I firmly believe in and will review it here in Lecture 2.1
This is a link to Carli's speech at Stanford. Interestingly enough my youngest son was in that graduation class and my family was in the stands and sitting a few rows in front of us was President Clinton and Hillary. They were a few seats to our left and Bill at that time was the picture of health. He certainly caused a commotion when he and Hillary arrived. Everyone can learn a lot from Carli's thoughts about presenting "The Essence" of things.
The value of our dollar is an extremely important component that affects all of us. We have been in a very long major shift in how our economy has dealt with "Globalization." It has been an incredible opportunity for some but has totally missed the "masses" and the redistribution of wealth has unfortunately not been fair. This section touches on a few of the areas that are important to most of us. Middle America has been getting “eaten alive” over the past 30 years. The link is to a simple calculator that you can use to estimate how much a dollar was worth in whatever year you put in it and it tells you what it would be worth today. Example - $1 in 1980 can purchase almost $3 today. Question - if your income has not gone up by 3 x since 1980 - join the Club of Mr. and Mrs. American who has been screwed!
Yac gives a “real-world example” that happened to him that totally changed the long term plans he had established for his company. The lesson here is “things change” and they change whether we want them to or not. You may not like the new direction or what is offered but sometimes you need to take “the best solution of only bad solutions!”
Some of the fun things we did in the early days of Silicon Valley. Start-ups require an intense amount of work – sustained over a long period. It is important to add some things which allow people to blow off some steam. Here are a few of the things that Yac and his groups did.
Yac reviews a personal problem he didn’t see coming and it cost him a company – a lot of money – and with hind sight – things could have been different. Tough and expensive lesson to learn!
Yac met a lot of "flim-flam" money raisers as he got outside of traditional VC and well known investors. A Charlatan is outlined here and he gives both the example and a sure fire way to tell if someone is real or not!
Individuals who go thru these 8 Lectures will have the opportunity to share with Yac many of the “thought processes” and what are to him important mental check lists. The Mental approach is crucial!
Success means something different to each of us – as it should be. That definition also changes as one matures. In ones teens and early 20’s - it is easy to just place a dollar number and “call that success!” Over time - the word takes on a totally different and broader meaning which comes with maturity. The definition can be quite personal and vary greatly depending on where one started in life.
Without exception the most profound definition I have ever heard about what "Success" means was a very simple straight-forward statement that has nothing to do with net worth - income - or money. There are very few Americans in the age bracket of those reading or listening to this material who are unaware of Coach Wooden. I have included a link to an interview Tony Robbins made of Coach Wooden and the whole commentary is worth while listening to. It is in 2 - 45 minute segments. In it - near the front of the first half Mr. Wooden goes over how he defines it but I would encourage listening to his whole audio presentation. He is a remarkable man with a remarkable message and there are few who were exposed to him that didn't come away from any involvement with him who didnt feel they were the better off as a result of that session(s).
"Entrepreneurs are Everywhere." I stole that Phrase from Steve Blank (an excellent instructor on Entrepreneurship and the founder of a movement called "The Lean Startup”). The point being - anyone can become one to spite many many dissertations on the subject of what it takes to be one. Entrepreneurs come from every background you can possibly think of. They are made - not born.
I am providing 2 links here - the first is to the Kauffman organization of which in my mind there is none better and I describe it in the video and the second is to their "Sketchbook Series" which consists of 32 - 2 to 3 minute clips that are excellent material for anyone considering starting something (and it applies to those who already hve something up and running).
I am offering this as an “observation” which I think can be useful. It is my opinion that it is really rare today to find an industry that is “on the level!” That being the case, it is important to develop an attitude of “what can I realistically do.” 3.4 gives you one of the tools that can help. Alpine is one of a few companies that has taken the challenge of "offshore labor advantages" and is successful at creating large scale at home real job opportunities for USA Based Telemarketers. I have no involvement with Alpine other than the industry is one I have studied as a matter of interest as I created I believe the first Telemarketing company in the States in the early 1970's. Alpine is not going to make you rich but there are hundreds and hundreds of individuals working from their homes and adding to the family income.
Many years ago I was the VP of Marketing for a really large company and I was squawking to the CEO of the company about the fact I was asked to pare back all of my budgets and at the time my operation was outperforming all the others and I didn’t think it was fair for me to cut back when my group was doing so well. The CEO made a comment which I remember to this day and he was 100% correct. He said “Yac, in a large company like this – all of the various divisions, and organizations etc. are like the spokes of a wheel. When the wheel turns - everyone is affected and that includes you.” That was a really great way of looking at things. Same is true for our economy. Whatever the US Economy is doing – affects everybody. Just concern yourself with what you can control and accept the things you have zero control over.
Our country is facing some really difficult times. We have lost hundreds of thousands of good manufacturing jobs over time to countries with lower labor costs. No matter who is in the White House – those jobs are not returning. Newer jobs that require a different skill set and the use of higher tech tools and automation are the “new thing.” My middle class as we define it is a “dying breed” – meaning – those that are 60 + in ten years will be 70 + etc. We are self-extinguishing. The “Boomers” numbers decrease as their population ages and there are no replacements. The government really cannot afford to either set up jobs requiring the skills of the 60’s or re-educating our present middle class. The answer is – our present middle class is kind of like a boat – afloat and has to “fend for itself.” Our country is young and our society nor our government has figured out how to deal with the whole aging/job/new methods/re-education process.
First and foremost – I believe – it is critical to lay all of your cards out on the table so that you know with fairly good accuracy what your actual needs are. This is not you selling something to someone. This is a “No-BS” outline of exactly where you are financially so that you can select what are your best options right now. You may have a lot of time to explore a variety of alternatives or you may find you have zero wiggle room and you better get to it right now!
This Lecture gets into the way in which I try to keep my attitude and mind moving in a positive direction – as much of the time as possible. To me this is critical.
Yac shares some firsthand observations about how he and his peers were part of a “Post WW 2” economic climb with hard work and the moral character that is created after a period of massive human loss (Est between 60 – 80 million all told) and hundreds of thousands of US Troops were killed and or permanently injured. Almost all families either had relatives or friends that served or were casualties and this put a seriousness on the “youth” that were part of that early WW 2 economic boom. The Millennials of today are growing up in a much different environment and the results yield no right or wrong – just a decided difference.
Most of the “Boomer” population were products of the after effects of “The Great Depression” and WW 2 was the catalyst that propelled the United States out of the financial doldrums. It took many many years after the end of WW 2 for the stock market to climb to the “heady days of 1929” and millions of people had been really negatively affected.
This link gives a terrific review of what the 1929 era and after really was like. Hopefully the “Stewards” of our country and our economy don’t make the same mistakes.
Section 5.1 I made a mistake here and called the Video 5.0 “My Badd!” It isn’t the only mistake I made making this course I am sorry to say! The video is in the correct order.
Link for 5.2 Social Security Fast Facts
Since Social Security is so important to so many individuals I thought it was important to provide this link that will go thru most of the information anyone needs – and then some. I would like to make a point here as from what I can gather – our Politicians talk in terms of SS falling off a cliff at some point and the SS distributions go from whatever they were to Zero! I don’t believe that is the case and if you look at Page 37 in the SS Pamphlet – my interpretation is it reduces to approximately 80% of what is was and this occurs in 2034. It is also important to note that each year to make payments as SS is required to – they need to borrow a small % of the total and you can see how much on the left vertical axis on page 37 as well. That doesn’t mean things should not be addressed now as the slight borrowing for several years becomes an unmanageable number.
It is extremely easy for each of us to look at our Government from the standpoint “they” have an infinite amount of money. Obviously they do not and they are constantly making decisions as to how much goes where. At the end of the day though – they face the same problems you and I do in that either the “checkbook balances or it does not!” If it does not – their choices are about same as each of us make. We cut somethings, we borrow money from somewhere, or we act like a bunch of Ostriches and stick our heads in the sand. Unfortunately all too often it is this later approach that is used and the “politicians” charged with making intelligent decisions about how to spend “our tax money” wisely elect to avoid making a decision – kick the can down the road assuming the next administration will handle that problem. Unfortunately this “dumb approach” occurs way too often and we find ourselves borrowing Trillions of dollars to make up for our leaders inadequacies. In the long run what usually happens is they “downgrade” the purchasing power of the dollar so they can pay off their debt with “less money” but we get screwed as we don’t get the same upward adjustments!
This is a continuation of the charts and commentary from 5.3
Reviewed here in “Gross Terms” are the sources of money which allow us to operate our Government. Also shown in good understandable charts are the % of monies made available to this government from the citizens and the corporations. Lastly an excellent and easy chart to comprehend shows what is happening to our debt and how it has grown from the 1900’s to present with a “guestimate” which goes out into the future
Over the past 15 or so years we have created a new category – Homeland Security and the cost of “combating Terrorism!” We look to our Government to protect us as citizens, protect our borders and what is called “our country!” All of this takes a massive amount of money and is part of what the Government does with the funds it collects primarily from its citizens, US Corporations and several other smaller categories. In a few charts - what we are spending money on is summarized and unless you have seen this in black and white in the past – it will more than likely surprise you. It is not an insignificant number.
This should be called Lecture 6.1 I get into the DIKW Pyramid or Knowledge Pyramid. Although not in the Heart of my topics – I would be remiss in not addressing this as all of us have gotten to rely on our “smart phones” for much much more than just a telephonic communication device. This addresses in a very small way – how some of this data gets used and catalogued.
Today - massive amounts of data are available on most any subject in a matter of seconds to everyone who wants it or needs it. Even so - a good memory will not replace good logic. How we use what we have access to is far more important than just having it. Intelligence still counts!
Over the years - I find it helpful creating my own “weighting factors” and placing individuals abilities into various categories. This is by areas of expertise. How much of a BS factor do I apply to someone. General knowledge. Creative abilities etc. Knowing strong points but also knowing their limits and weak points. It has helped me in choosing managements, teams, and special assignments. Crudely put - you don’t select a hammer if you need a screw driver. We are always dealing with people and IMHO it is important to really know what to expect in doing so.
What is amazing is the number of individuals who can look people who can least afford a loss of their life savings – right in the eye and lie - lie - lie - and not lose one moment of sleep at night after taking 100% of an elderly couples life savings. As you dig into the “Fraud and Scam” industry it is absolutely huge!
Forbes Magazine recently stated that the World Wide Fines that were levied recently primarily on the Investment Banking Industry totaled $200 Billion. To the amazement of the “outsiders” like most of us - the fines were paid and the companies kept right on doing business as usual. No company went out of business. That gives you an idea how massive these organizations really are – they consider these huge fines just a “cost of doing business.” Just like in Poker.. These billion dollar fines were the “Ante” that they had to put up to be in the game!
If I appear to be harsh regarding our “financial systems” it is because I have lived in it as an opponent meaning I was always trying to do things the right way and many times I got burned and burned badly and quite frankly I have taken some criticism for not looking the other way at what were critical times in either my or my companies growth path. Be that as it may - I can live with myself and the results. Having said that – our country keeps moving the target of “acceptability” and we have opened up the “windows of opportunity” since WW 2 and IMHO the fact that right and wrong keeps changing – in the long run will prove harmful to our society. That is one man’s opinion. All of those going thru this material will make their own decisions as to what is acceptable behavior to them and when a family has been put out on the street – it is hard to live within the confines of some “puritanical construct!”
The external links provided are to some excellent resources on this subject. The first one is a Summary of a book titled The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted by Judge Rykoff. It is about a 15 minute read and if you do not intend to go further and peruse the 2 books suggested - at least read this one quick piece. The second and third link are to books as well offered thru Amazon. They are “All the Devils are Here” and “Too Big to Fail!”
Although I am spending quite a bit of time covering these subjects, and they paint a negative picture – I believe to be forewarned is to be forearmed and ups your chances of surviving in a game that is not totally on the up and up.
America is still far and away of the large countries the best country to live in and this is why we constantly see immigrants coming here in mass rather than leaving in mass.
The links here show articles that get into the Health Care and Insurance Industries and how much money is misdirected. This looks at things on a “Macro” basis and the answer is you really have to use good judgement here and in working with any of these types of operations – you need to do your own research and I often “Google” a company and use their search engine looking at “users complaints,” “law suits,” “warrenty’s,” “service problems.” Figure out different categories that apply to whatever it is that you are contemplating and do your research. If you get mostly great or good comments – that gives you one possibility whereas if all you do is get complaints – you probably ought to avoid that company or that product.
There are three links that give an interesting overview of these huge industries. Note on the last link the chart showing the worth of homes and how much money was lost and then regained. Fortunes were lost and made during those massive financial swings. This does not include the massive “Health Care Swindle” which was mentioned in the 7.4 Link
For many of these “Programs to earn money” it is important to tap in to a “Herd Mentality.” Their Marketing Management or Sales Management take full advantage of every trick possible to sell individuals on the “Huge Opportunity” that exists. These organizations will hold up a “Mary Jo House wife” who makes $10,000 per month – part time - as their poster child. IMHO it is a quasi form of “Mass Hypnosis” and the True Believers become like “evangelists” that want to spread the idea – the money – the program – and the wealth!”
In this sense – those that usually try this for a while follow the company script and they are truly “Drunk with the possibility of Making the "Magical 6 figure Income" and they have tasted the Kool Aid. Unfortunately - the reality of these massive operations yield true success stories that more often run from 1 in a 100 all the way to never making a true profit if all costs are taken into consideration.
P.T. Barnum said it and we have all heard this comment. “There's a sucker born every minute.”
With a little knowledge on your part and using your God Given talent and your brain - there is no reason for you (or anyone) to be just another statistic in a long list of individuals who were taken advantage of by people whose ethics are questionable.
There is something that I need to state at the start of this section. I am devoting the next several lectures to an industry that is called "Network Marketing" which is its "legitimate name." It also goes by:
MLM (Multi Level Marketing)
Home Based Franchising
Seller Assisted Marketing
Duel Level Marketing
Consumer Direct Marketing
I have probably missed some but the message here is all of these (and more) all take the form one way or another of MLM or Network Marketing and if you listen to this recommendation and if you follow this advice - STOP RIGHT HERE
DO NOT EVER IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS - CONSIDER GETTING INVOLVED IN ANY NETWORK MARKETING PROGRAM. LESS THAN 1 IN 100 EVER MAKE A PROFIT, IN MANY CASES THAT NUMBER IS LESS THAN 1 IN 1000 AND YOUR BETTER OFF TAKING YOUR MONEY TO VEGAS AND PLAYING 21 OR CRAPS.
FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT WILL BELIEVE ME THAT I HAVE ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE FROM STUDYING THESE MARKETING EFFORTS - SKIP EVERYTHING ELSE FROM HERE AND GO TO 8.2 WHHICH IS DAY TRADING OR 9.0 WHICH IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP!
THIS IS LIKELY TO SAVE YOU A BUNDLE. DON'T THANK ME - JUST SEND ME 50% OF WHAT YOU JUST SAVED! Ha Ha
If your curiosity has gotten the best of you and your dying to learn more about it - be my guest - I have a lot of personal comments that I will make plus actual hard facts and I will pass judgement on what I believe is a very corrupt and immoral industry.
Understand - what I am going to say here goes "contra" a massive industry that shows immense numbers of people that are involved and billions of dollars that are moved.
If at the end of this section - you feel you have found the needle in a haystack that will work for you - go ahead and try it but don't say you have not been warned.
At first blush - the numbers and the job descriptions seem "Wonderful!"
In the United States there are approximately 18.2 Million people involved at the marketing end of this Industry.
This group of individuals is involved in the purchasing, use, and resale of approximately $34 billion dollars of merchandise! Sounds like nirvana - right?
There are also approximately 200,000 plus people employed by the corporations that create the products that are sold to the 18 Million "Independent Business Owners" that buy and sell this stuff. The Corporations spend huge amounts of money on excellent marketing aids (which you buy), make everything Rah Rah Rah and hold excellent national sales meetings (you pay for transportation, lodging, meals etc.) parading high income achievers across the stage. It is all set up to create an atmosphere of "everybody can do it and why not you!"
In my opinion this whole industry is like "The Traveling Medicine Man and his Universal Elixir" brought forward into the 21st Century!! If your inclined there is a lot of info about the "Traveling Medicine Men in the 1800's with the cure all for whatever ails you.
Well quite frankly there is about as much credence to the whole MLM industry as there was in "Ole Doc Wilsons Elixer of Life that cures snake bite, hemroids, lumbago, and a fading memory!" Unfortunately people are gullible and there are individuals who have no qualms about taking advantage of that trait. Add to the mix - there are some of the best sales people in the world representing these companies and the "pitch" and the great business propositions that are offered are extremely effective.
The MLM Industry is interesting to say the least. The majority of those organizations that are operating in this manner typically set up two independent entities – ie – two separate organizations - one a corporation and the other a distribution company. The Corporation being the management – the R&D if there is one – the manufacturing facility if they make a product – the financial group, and the (limited) marketing operation which does all of the brochures, advertising and the reason I placed limited marketing is they typically only have one customer! That is the second entity which is the Sales Operation which can only sell the product provided by the corporation.
One company has employees. The other entity typically only has “commission only contractors.” Nobody in the Sales company gets a salary. Their only income is a “mark-up” on whatever it is they buy and resell. 100% of the costs involved in selling the product are born by the “independent contractor.” The “so-called” beauty of this type of sales operation is “you can get several people buying your product and they can get several people buying the product you sold them and on and on.
Geometrically it looks wonderful on a chart. Getting it to work in the real world is a totally different story. Literally millions of people do this and they are like the proverbial donkey with the turnip held on a string hanging about one foot in front of their nose. The majority of the sales or commission plans that are put together once you understand how one makes money in one of these MLM operation tends to be not by selling products but by recruiting people that report to you and they sell products.
It is absolutely amazing how many (really – millions of people) work in companies that operate in this manner and the odds against ever hitting a break-even are probably no better than shooting craps in Los Vegas – if that good.
I estimate a lot of things to put my own spin on trying what I call "sanity tests"
FIRST SANITY TEST: $34 Billion in sales - 18 million IPO's = $1900/year/IBO or about $160/month and that is gross sales meaning you have to subtract the cost of the product and assume they have a great markup and get a 25% markup so the average IBO can make approximately $40 per month before any expenses.
I will cut to the chase here and make the following statement.
1) Those employees who work in the corporation who think these programs up and operate them and sell products to the IBO's make excellent money. But none of that goes to the IBO's. The Chairman/President of one of the Majors has an annual income of over $50 million per year. The employees of the corporations are well compensated.
2) These are many wealthy individuals making excellent incomes in the IBO ranks but almost without exception they are individuals who have been with the MLM for many years - have worked really hard recruiting people and probably were well into their pocketbook before they ever turned their loss months into positive months. Try and find a reference who has been with the MLM you may be looking at who can legitimately claim they have been with them 12 - 24 months and are even breaking ever! Very difficult to do!
3) The majority of people do not have a stomach for operating in the manner that is necessary to succeed in this type of environment which depends upon deceit as its main recruitment tool. The turnover rate is monumental and the few that do last and are willing to suffer losses for months if not years are the "Poster Children Winners" which are held up as examples for all to see.
4) Can it be done - YES! But at what cost - how many people do you have to burn to get there and can you look at yourself in a mirror and say "I am happy I am doing this!"
In one of the later Lectures - I show an internal document showing exactly who makes what. It is an eye opener.
OBVIOUS QUESTION: If this industry is so rotten - why doesn't the Government shut it down???
Great Question! I address later! It is far more complex than one might think!
This section logically could have been inserted a little later. Be that as it may - the Work at Home (WAH) is a really interesting business opportunity and I find it fascinating how many decent – honest individuals are drawn into business situations that will never turn a profit. Each individual opportunity has within it (and rarely spelled out in detail) a variety of “tools or aids or brochures or software or leads etc.” that you’re expected to buy and these can add up quickly and it is important to keep track of them on a monthly (or even weekly) basis. This whole industry is massive - is fraught with high turnover – lots of individuals who are about like the worst used car salesman you ever dealt with – and everyone is going to make a fast buck. For most - it is a “pipe dream” and of course – the few people who have survived 5 or 10 years make fantastic incomes - but they are few and far between. The statistical exceptions who do last however long it takes to pass the break even point are shown and held up as an example of “what anyone can do with hard work” and believing in the company line and following their guidelines to the letter. Almost nobody gets to the finish line.
It is extremely easy to get caught up in the "hype" and get "over committed" in spending money initially. Unfortunately there is a tremendous amount of turnover and the mortality rate is extremely high. This is yet another example where it is critically important to be 100% honest with yourself and if your in one of these companies to openly assess where you are and are you really making money or just helping others make money and "your big day is just around the corner."
Included later are examples of the amount of money made by the “insiders” and the amount of money individuals are spending trying to get the government to classify these businesses for what they really are.
There is a lot of money at stake here (Billions). That being said – the average person is like a grain of sand at the beach and nobody cares about them! Unfortunately - your kind of on your own when entering this arena and you need to move carefully.
I have added a link that takes you to a well known company and individual who is trying to prove that the MLM Industry is a "sham" industry. Bill Ackman is the head of this fund and a few years back Herbalife was brought to his attention along with their business practices. Certain observations were made to him and after studying Herbalife for close to a year - Ackman came to the conclusion that in fact Herbalife was a Pyramid Scheme - was breaking the law - and he set out to prove it.
Unlike many who just make an observation - Ackman put his money (his funds) where his mouth was and over a period of time entered a "monstrous short" against Herbalife. Define Monstrous Yac. All told he tied up close to one billion dollars.
He was betting that the share price would fall and fall and fall as the information on what the company was really doing become public knowledge and the proper government authorities were notified.
Initially - as time moved forward - Ackman and Pershing were up around $300 million but that reversed itself and I believe he is down at the moment around $300 million.
Interestingly enough he has indicated if he makes money on the transaction - all profits will go to charity.
There is point to my bringing all this up. Stating that a company is immoral is one thing. Stating and proving it is breaking the law is another.
The tactical maneuvering that went on is amazing and as I write this in August 2016 - things have not gotten settled.
Latter on I will review a few of the unusual wiggle factors that Herbalife have done to battle this in court.
I admire what Ackman is trying to accomplish and hopefully he doesn't end up losing his ass.
His cause is one that I applaud.
I review from an actual internal document that was published by Herbalife exactly how many individuals made money and how much they made as IBO's (Independent Business Operators) in the USA.
There were around 700,000 Herbalife IBO's in the states and of those only 73,000 qualified to receive commission checks for the year shown.
On the last Video page I talk about some additional links that show quite a bit of additional information about the MLM industry and as it is difficult to read the links I show - I have included the links as additional resources.
This whole industry is one I would steer clear of. It lives on individuals who would like to set up an independent operation that they own and they can be part of. They tout big big things with crappy follow thru and performance.
Do yourself a big favor and just avoid it and find something else.
Remember an iron clad rule.
If you "bet zero" and the guy next to you bets big and loses. At the end of the day compared to him you are ahead. You don't always have to count how much you made - sometimes it is a good idea to think in terms of how much you didn't lose!
Also - most of these operations push their members to sell and enroll family and friends first.
Create your own iron clad defense about saying no and not getting sucked in with people you know or family that you feel obligated to help. This is sometimes hard to do but it is your money - presumably you earned it. Spend it wisely!
I should state that I have never worked for, or owned stock and/or shares of any type nor have I ever done any consulting for any of the MLM companies. The information that I gathered was on my own time and any expenses I ran up were out of my own pocket.
Trading at home with the advent of the powerful home computers that are available today has become quite popular.
Key point. Entering a trade and exiting a trade these days is easy. That is just a mechanical maneuver. Knowing when to enter the trade and when to exit and knowing how much you should trade takes a lot of time and education and practice. Don’t let some fast talking hyper energetic individual convince you otherwise.
I have not been involved for 5 years now and I would assume there are many new trading platforms and brokers that are available that have come on stream during the 60 or so months that I have not been involved.
Over the years that I was involved there are a few observations I made and I believe you should use these as guidelines to help you determine whether this is something you should try or just avoid.
Questions that you need answers to so that you can make an “enlightened decision” are these and there may well be many others that pertain to you.
1) What are my monthly needs dollar wise and do I have some additional retirement accounts that will kick in at some point which lowers my needs?
2) Do I need to draw funds out of whatever I do monthly or can I work and just keep growing a trading account without having to draw a monthly stipend.
3) How much money can I afford to put in a trading account
4) Do I need an income now – a month from now – can I go 12 + months without an income? About how much will I need if I hold off a year or so
5) Am I agile with numbers and am I comfortable working for several hours per day at my computers?
6) Do I have the mental makeup that would allow me to know that what I am doing can lead to real money loses
These are off the top of my head but these and many others are probably appropriate for you to think about and the financial needs you really need to have your arms around.
If you need $2 grand per month and you need it starting in 60 days – this is probably not for you.
If you listened to the Video – one of the things I did do was to read close to 50 books over the years that I was involved – some good – some bad – and some were trading not techniques but were more stories about famous traders. There are/were a lot of gun slingers and people who made massive fortunes doing this. Those typically are the ones you hear about. There were many fortunes lost – both big and small numbers but to the individuals it may have represented a lot of money.
In my opinion there are several things that you need to think thru if this is a path that you want to explore.
1) This should not be considered a sideline unless you’re a math Savant and a Genius. Treat it with the same respect you would any job that you have. Discipline is the name of the game. You work at it so many hours per day with zero interruptions.
2) There are many many many types of trading approaches. What is proper for you I cannot say. The initial group I was involved in traded primarily OTC and the NYSE and I promptly lost $25 grand. I reset – and started in with the Forex and that was what I concentrated on for about 5 years. The comments below are some worthwhile observations that apply to the Forex but probably apply to all at home trading as well.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: You will be buried with people who talk in terms of making 10%/day to over 100% /day. Pipedreams – all. Think about something. There are hundreds and maybe thousands of individuals who have IQ’s in the 140 – 160 range and are Nobel Prize recipients in Math, Economics, Physics, etc. working on this same problem who are happy as a clam if they can operate in the 20 – 30 percent per year – year in and year out. Some “yahoo” with a glib tongue is not going to outperform this crowd or if he does it may be for a few months but not the long run.
THEREFORE - You need to understand that if after you master whatever system you choose to work on – if your annual target is over 25%/year - your risk factor starts going up really quickly. There are real “Genius’s” working in this field who are quite satisfied getting a consistent 25% per year return and I would suggest you create a target no more than that.
Where those type of people have a challenge that “you” don’t is they are trading huge amounts of money so there are different restrictions they have to deal with.
Knowing that a reasonable initial target is 25% - this tells you how much you need to keep at your brokerage.
Example - say you need an income in the range of $2 grand a month and you can hold off for say 12 months while you learn how to do this. Your account to provide you $2k per month based on 25% per year requires you to keep $100 grand in your account. In addition – say you want a safety factor of 35% so you keep an additional $35 grand in your trading account. If you can only afford to put $10 grand or so in a trading account – day trading probably won’t work for you to spite what a lot of the BS’ers will tell you. Lastly – you need to set aside the $12 months of funds you need to pay yourself while you learn this.
Here are a couple of things I would do and I would not short circuit these.
Whatever system I would start in with – I would learn as much as I could about it by reading several books on that subject and probably finding a school that has a several week course on teaching that specific approach. Your school may well run $2500 +/-.
I would paper trade for up to 6 months until I had everything down pat and was showing consistent profits in the range of my expectation. I would not skip this part as knowing that you have “mastered” your system and it is working for you and yielding the results you need are important. A lot of trading is “between your ears.” Your mental attitude as you go into a trading session is important. Think of trading as a “battlefield” and you have an opponent who is out to steal your money and it is up to you to protect it. The mental distinction is far more important than you might think at first blush. If you feel crappy going into a trading session – skip it. Do something else. You want the same mid set that a boxer has going into a fight. It is you against the market! Don’t take this suggestion lightly!
When you do ultimately start to trade real money – I would start in with very very small amounts of money as there is a “psychological difference when you are trading monopoly money and your own real funds. Get comfortable doing it in small trades and do it as long as it takes to have it work and provide the results you are looking for.
This is something I believe is really important and you are going to hear a lot of individuals speaking to the contrary. You need to be able to set up the amount of money you place on a trade so that if the trade goes bad – your loss is limited to 1% of the trading account. There are many different types of systems to trade and you will have to work out how you do this but here is the logic. It is not uncommon to have 5 – 7 – 9 trades in a row go bad. Doesn’t happen often but it can. If you are trading say 5% of your trading account and you have 9 straight losses – your account is down to around 50% of where you started. From that position it is extremely difficult to get back to zero – let alone be profitable again.
So – if you figure out how to limit your losses on each trade to a maximum of 1% - and if you have a bunch of bad trades in a row – both your mind can deal with that and the absolute amount of loss won’t make your returning to a positive position too difficult.
If the group your dealing with indicates you cannot figure out how to do this with their platform or trading system – pick another group or system.
It is critically important to keep excellent records. I personally like to see charts or graphs but that is me. Figure out what you are comfortable with and keep up to the day records.
There is going to be dollar overhead associated with this and you need to crank that into your needs. When I traded I used a charting platform which as I remember cost $250 per month plus my internet charge. The brokeridge charges for placing you in the trade and taking you out and charges you when you withdraw money. All of this needs to be added in as your overhead.
At my home workstation – I had two high end tower PC’s driving 4 21 inch screens. My guess is if you do this these days – you will need something similar although you may find a group that can operate on less.
If you go into this be prepared to talk to or read about how easy it is and how much you can make.
The rough outline I provided is probably a good initial target. If over time you find you can do better – adjust accordingly but do it with facts and not wishes.
In this section I hope to share with you some of the observations that I experienced during a period of half a century of being active as an entrepreneur. I have thought about this for sometime and I would like to call myself something other than the traditional "entrepreneur or serial entrepreneur." The reason for the departure is simple. A serial entrepreneur by my definition ends one operation and immediately starts in on another. In my case - I rarely did that but after leaving a company as an example - it might entail a four or five year departure before I started another capital intensive operation. In between I did things in which I worked around or with entrepreneurs but was not running my own operation. For this reason I prefer to call myself a "Professional Entrepreneur."
There is absolutely no magic formula for success and in all candor - the chances of starting a Facebook or Google is about as likely to happen as winning the lottery. Of course in those examples the founders had specific technical skills that were required initially and they continued to draw in like-minded, educated, and computer savvy individuals who were more than happy to join a really fast train going somewhere.
Specific technical skills are not always necessary. Sometimes an unusual amount of plain common sense and a "passion" for something can be the launching pad for an incredible business and one that adds tremendously to our society in a multiplicity of ways.
Starbucks is a perfect example. What could be more mundane that having a cup of coffee as the genesis for an Entrepreneurial Rocket ship. Can you picture some wild eyed entrepreneur trying to sell a VC group why they should invest in this operation that was going to sell coffee on your corner.
Well - Howard Schultz - the Chairman, CEO and President since the founding of the company in 1985 assumed that role and he really had a passion for good coffee, making it available to a large audience similar to the coffee houses he had noticed in Italy and his unbridled enthusiasm and knowledge on the subject ultimately got him financing and he is presently the head of 23,000 Starbucks Coffee shops with about half of them being outside the USA.
Schultz did something that no one in the fast food industry had done and it is in part why he became so successful. I mention this because in creating a business - there often times are opportunities to do things slightly differently and the leverage it provides you is disproportionally returned many many many times over the short time costs.
Starbucks has a common problem that really hurts all of the fast food industries and it is simply turnover.
None of the fast food franchises pay much and as such - they invite huge turn over and the cost of attracting and training and building company loyalty with individuals who really understand the business they are in is huge. Traditionally the fastfood industry workforce is mostly uneducated, paid on the low end and subject to go else on little notice and very very hard to attract employees who are serious about their work.
A large percentage of the work force that is the normal labor pool that work for these fast food companies do not provide a very large percentage of their employees with 40 hour per week jobs which justifies them not paying typical medical or any financial benefits.
Shultz in what I call an absolutely brilliant move decided that he would provide benefit packages to his part time work staff.
Well guess what happened.
People want to work at Starbucks. Turnover went down - down - down. Profits went up - up - up.
His employees became loyal – became enthusiastic about their jobs and the whole attitude of the work force improved.
I am sure his financial people told Shultz - “your nuts - that will cost too much - we will go broke paying these people a benefit package.”
All too often - financial people or the legal team or consultants to an operation kill it before it gets a chance to prove itself.
Well fortunately in this case - Schultz was the boss. They did it. And Starbucks owns the coffee world. And I applaud him for what he has done within the company and for what he has provided to the various causes that he believes in. A true American Success Story!
Not only did he attract individuals who wanted to work there - by being there longer - they knew more about the company and its products.
Then what does he do.
He elevates the "person who pours a cup of coffee" to a new term in his Industry. The individual gets some specific training and wah la - we now have Baristas.
It is little things like the above - accomplished with the utmost detail and executed superbly that turns a cup of coffee into a goldmine.
Are there opportunities like that out there for Boomers and Seniors to explore.
You bet your ass there is. But they do not come to you. You have to find them like finding eggs at an Easter Egg Hunt.
So - I am not going to be able to say - do this - homerun!
But what I can do is share with each of you a ton of experiences and observations that I have had over many many years and I can also share some experiences I had that didn't work.
We learn from everything. Both good and bad.
I cannot say an Entrepreneurial path is for everyone but this is a fact.
Entrepreneurs are basically the foundation and the salvation for this country.
It is not big business. By definition they are owned by their shareholders and in our society the talking heads on Wall Street have CEO's are on relatively short leashes and they need to turn in quarterly results that constantly improve. That includes laying people off if it helps the bottom line.
The majority of new jobs in the United States will come from the roughly half a million new small businesses that start each month.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of this country and of our economy.
It takes balls to head out and try something and what I have tried to do is share with each of you a lifetime of experience in starting, observing, and running a variety of my own companies and helping many others to do the same.
Although there are 9 stand-alone sections - the one on Entrepreneurship is far and away the largest and it contains approximately 3.5 hours of video which represents almost 40% of the course material.
This can be treated as a standalone section without going thru 1 - 8 if this is all your interested in.
I am also including dozens and dozens of links on things which I personally believe can be extremely helpful and I would encourage you to at least take a quick peek at all of them and spend times reviewing the ones that "resonate" with you.
There is absolutely no one way or right way to start an operation. Sometimes the best education is to have no more than the desire and common sense.
At the end of this Entrepreneurship section I am also including an "Epilogue" which I split into parts due to its length as well as a Forward which traditionally is at the front of the course or book. There are some thoughts that I believed might be of interest to those who go thru this material. It adds to the information you will pick up on why I got into this type of project plus a lot of general information.
I personally believe that The Kauffman Foundation is the single most important entity in existence today working on "policy that directs DC and creates a variety of tools and surveys that helps guide the whole entrepreneurial industry." There are of course vast numbers of other sources of courses (Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, Incubators, VC's and on and on - each with their own contribution but Kauffman stands alone and I include many links to Kauffman tools, articles, laws, and surveys.
There is no appropriate age to be an entrepreneur. I do believe one has to use common sense though in figuring out what type of company or entity one starts. If your in your late 60's - I probably wouldn't want to start something that will take 6 - 8 years before it can become profitable or self sustaining. There are probably a few more restrictions one should take into consideration as one ages. Same logic applies to the risk/reward ratio. When one just graduates from college - this is the time to start something that is following your dream even if it is a long shot. If it doesn't work out - you have another 40 - 50 years of being able to try many others and you can live with a financial loss far easier than you can as you become a senior. I would caution individuals starting something to think carefully about what the risk factors are as one is older and can you live with the loss if it doesn't work out.
Remember that little rule I told you about at the start of these Sections.
Don't tell me how much I can make. Tell me how much I can lose! Very important to be honest here.
The links here are to several excellent mags that provide a lot of excellent info about starting and running small operations. The links in 9.1 also probably apply more here than to 9.1 but really apply to both Lectures.
This should be obvious but unfortunately a lot of people will not think this through ahead of time.
I am a real believer in keeping accurate notes and in wanting to know where I am at any point in time and in my own case this goes well beyond just finances.
This is extremely important if you are contemplating doing something that may be a disruption to your income or cash flow.
As you enter your Senior Years and for various reasons you may be anticipating a change in job status - one of your alternatives may be a start up activity.
So that you can make a good decision as to which path is best for you - presuming you have several alternatives - it is really critically important that you lay out all of your financial obligations, your multiple income streams, and lay them out so that you know exactly what is happening by month for as many months into the future as you can do with reasonably good accuracy.
Knowing what you can depend on allows you to examine a variety of alternatives and then select the one that you believe is best for you.
And again - be honest with yourself. Fudging with the numbers here only hurts your ability to make your best decision.
In this short Lecture - I mentioned two easy to use systems which over the years have saved my ass many many times.
The first outlines a simple process for keeping track of "good ideas" and the second is something that I have found to be extremely helpful in making sure I kept track of basically all of my meetings, phone conversations,and the key info that was exchanged.
Although simple minded - both become a habit in use and they both ovoid the problem created when info is put on a piece of paper and the "important" piece of paper always seems to have a habit of disappearing at the wrong time.
I have actually used the second suggestion on several occasions when I was a key witness in a court trial. The "contents" are originally dated entrees and are admissible.
In my opinion it is important to be able to size any project you are contemplating so that you have some idea of what you are getting into.
2 different examples:
1) Buy used high end bikes - refurbish them including paint - new seat tires etc. Want to move 10 bikes per month. Probably start this type of business for $50k or less
2) Buy and refurbish Porsches. Not to detail as a Concourse Level car but a really clean car that can be used as a daily driver. This could easily entail a million or more startup capital.
Just a few minutes of intelligent "Guestimating" gives you a sizing of the 2 projects.
When dealing with VC's and even Angels - by and large they are legitimate and there are normally their lawyers involved in the drafting of any paperwork associated with any funding your likely to be involved in. You may not like the terms and there may be difficult time frames established, board sets required and they may take way too much of your company in your mind but usually the money is there.
ENTER THE WORLD OF THE BROKER
When there is this much money floating around ($60 Billion I believe world wide from VC's - $20 Billion Stateside and a like amount from the Angel community) there is always someone creating an in-between position trying to horn in on the action,
They go by a variety of names and some are legitimate.
This is an area that requires a tremendous amount of careful scrutiny as it is real easy to find yourself having signed a document which provides some middle man a significant payday when your financed whether the "broker" did anything or not. Share ownership is also something that requires extreme care. If your not careful you may well find you have given someone who didn't perform a large chunk of your company.
The best way to test a groups legitimacy if they are not known to you and they are without any info on the Internet or don't have any brochures is to ask for 3 or 4 groups or individuals or companies that they have raised funds for.
If you get the old run-around that says "we cannot provide you anything because we signed a non-disclosure agreement that precludes our discussing anything - 99 times out of 100 is they are a phony.
Just be ultra careful of people like this.
One of the documents groups like to get signed is an "exclusive right to raise funds for you" and many of these have no termination date. The problem here is that say after 12 months your "exclusive broker didn't raise the 2 million he was supposed to."
You bring another group in that does.
You may well find that your obligated to pay both brokers what ever their terms are.
I personally only gave brokers a set period of time to perform in clear concise language.
Our Society seems to be in a constant hurry. Hurry to get thru college. Hurry to make money. Hurry to pack a ton of stuff into 24 hours. If you re a 12 year old athlete - your in a hurry to purchase your $400 pair of Adida's. . If you are a US Politician - your in a hurry to try and change someone elses culture that has been the same for the last 2000 years. If someone is starting a company - the founders are in a hurry to say they are doing a billion something or others. VC's are in a hurry to see how many "Unicorns" they can set up. The Company "Unicorns" are in a hurry to have an IPO before the financial markets change and the valuation drops. If your on the Internet - your in a hurry to switch over to a fiber network so that instead of dealing with 2,000 times as much data as you can absorb - once the change over occurs - you get to try and deal with 10,000,000 times as much data as you can deal with. If you are a multi-millionaire - you are in a hurry to be a multibillionaire.
WHY SUCH A HURRY?
Every now and then I believe it is important to step back and "test your assumptions."
IMHO this is even more true today if your contemplating starting a small company.
Whatever you end up starting will probably monopolize the next several years of your life and spending several days or weeks examining exactly what you want out of starting an operation of your own is worthy of thinking it all the way through.
Of course you are doing it for an income - but my point is - don't just stop there. There are many many many ways to make money and since you are probably starting with a clean slate - why not choose a path that can satisfy a multiplicity of things for you above and beyond just the money.
How about making you happy?
How about making your family happy?
How about helping your neighborhood - your school district..
You get the point.
Before you get committed to a path - think thru things carefully.
Choosing a direction for a business is worthy of a lot of serious thought but that is not the only key question that needs to be addressed and the answers to a few other basic questions are as important.
Choosing a business partner - co-founders - management - these questions require the right answers and that path is not always obvious at times.
I used to kid my groups - "Look - we are going to spend more time here dealing with our mutual business problems than we spend with our families."
It is critical that the initial people get along well. If friction occurs at the start before the company is actually up and operational - then running into problems is likely to derail the whole operation. From my experience - once the company hits some difficult times and the top brass is under pressure - if the group gets along well - then usually the group will solve its mutual problem and get on with it.
But - if the group has problems at the very start in getting along with each other - put them under pressure and all that does is lower the boiling point of each person.
Choosing the right people for the right jobs is a sign of good management and good management does not try and hire individuals who are not as smart so that "The Big Honcho" feels secure and looks good.
Good management is secure enough within himself to hire equal or better individuals and learn to rely on the great qualities of "Great People!"
In a marriage - getting divorce is messy.
The same holds true with companies and co-founders, management, and key employees.. Having to replace individuals while under the pressure of starting something is really difficult.
If you have investors - it also looks bad if you brought them in in the first place! It is a blot on your management style. So - choose wisely.
In this video I give a variety of examples of very well known and successful CEO's of sizable companies that for the most part dropped out of high school or college and a couple of them left high school as young as 14 and 15.
Point being - College is hammered into us as a requirement for success. Who holds the hammer? Usually the universities who are selling expensive educations.
For some companies it is mandatory as the technical requirements would make it really unwieldy to have a "generalist" at the helm.
But for many - it was not necessary at all.
If your smart - your smart - and there is no substitute for brains - hard work - and a set of titanium cajones!
Age has nothing to do with "Attitude."
This Lecture specifically addresses how important having the correct attitude can be the difference between having a successful operation, a "ho-hum" operation and a complete failure.
It takes very little effort to appear to the world that you "have everything under control" and that you face the normal daily challenge’s in life with "gusto and a winning disposition!"
It becomes infectious and if in fact you have to keep reminding yourself at the start to do this - pretty soon it becomes second nature.
It is funny but also kind of pathetic. It is so easy to keep ourselves in a state of "A perpetual positive mindset" - yet we become trapped in our own inability to portray the positive rather than the negative.
Yet - we gravitate to the individuals who "radiate positive vibes" as it is much more pleasant to be around those types of people.
The question then - is if we are not like the Positive Role Model - why not.
It doesn't take much to approach life that way.
In today's times - there are a variety of selling Platforms like Amazon, eBay and Spotify to name a few.
They take much of the front end work out of setting up you own facility to do this.
Each has different pluses and negative points - but they should be a consideration depending on what type of a product you have.
In many cases - you can set up a supply line so that all you do is "advertise - take an order - and then turn that over to your fulfillment organization" and they inventory the product for you - address it - box it - ship it to your customer" and your out of that part of the loop.
The Internet truly has changed how a variety of businesses operate these days.
This is a small business that I started and it had what I thought was an outstanding business model.
The video explains what happened.
A "totally unforeseen incident" caused me to abort what would have been a "cash cow" - but sometimes the dealer throws you a joker instead of an Ace and you "gotta play what you have!"
This is an example of a Statue using a significantly less expensive technique for making statuary.
I don't have a clue what the economics of working with the medium is but were I to get interested - it wouldn't take too long to chase down a few companies who do this and get some cost info. I would want to know what the original molds with the artists costs involved and then some traditional cost/volume costs to get a sense of what I might work on.
For me - I would think that making Chess Pieces out of this material might be an interesting approach. Lots of start up costs as there are quite a few different pieces to make the set.
This is an example of how something that you are interested in could over time "merge" into something that becomes a "cash producing business."
Don't think in terms of how big and how quick. It is almost impossible to predict how large something can turn into.
Many really successful and sizable operations started with very little - didn't have much in the way of initial income but over time with proper "nurturing" became a significant small business.
The thought process that is shown in Lecture 73 - is an example of how something might grow from exceedingly humble beginnings.
To Me - This is the Type of Rather Random thought process you go thru - on an "iterative process" to find a project that is worthy of spending your time and money on.
One time - a VP of Marketing I had made the comment that "Yac has more ideas in a day than most of us have in a lifetime."
What is important to understand is that "The Devil is in the Details." Actually all of us have a lot of ideas. Ideas are cheap. Where the value of an idea becomes something that creates value is in the discipline and in the execution of what it is you are doing.
The idea just creates something that is a starting point.
Value occurs when the "idea turns into something that is tangible - has use - is an object that does more than just exists." It can also be something that appeals to the mind or the senses be they visual - auditory - forces the imagination to do something.
Value takes an idea and either adds to it - subtracts from it and comes up with something that is new! It also can be a "mishmash" of several ideas "smashed together."
My technical friends will understand this analogy. You take an "idea and are changing the inherent entropy" of the system.
Virtually all of the companies I started required a rather complete business plan but I have helped many individuals who were working on projects where a plan was just not possible.
Going thru the process of defining the various steps necessary to end up having a product or service that can be sold is a good discipline even if none of the steps are accurate.
If you are bouncing ideas back and forth - either in your noggin or with a friend or potential partner - the earlier you understand what steps are necessary to get something in the hands of a buying public will start the ball rolling even if applying numbers are impossible.
Over time - as you learn more about what is entailed - you can start filling in "the blanks" so to speak.
This is easy to say but really hard to arrive at - "You need to learn enough about what are the steps involved in setting up a business you are contemplating so that you won't be hit with huge negative surprises."
Only until you launch something will you get into all of the details of the particular business but you need the assurance that you understand the big things.
Whats a big thing?
* The Industry operates on a 6 months receivables time frame. If you don't know this you could get killed having to finance your customers for 5 months longer than normal. Certain industries have terms that may only apply to that industry. If the customers are used to these favorable terms - hard to get them to change.
* All of the companies presently making this type of product are losing money on sales. This is considered a loss leader for other products they sell!
* The industry has been over-producing and has 2 years worth of inventory of identical products and offer 24 hour delivery and they "offer huge discounts!"
* Several companies have tried to crack this market with a similar product and failed.
These are the kinds of things you should know as you are assessing the viability of what you are looking at.
Like I said - your not initially looking at minutia - you are looking at the big things.
The majority of people going thru this material will most likely not need a business plan - at least not initially.
If and when you do - Steve Blank offers an excellent itirative process for validating the product, the market and the pricing and the result is an excellent business plan. I have also included a free course that Steve offers which takes no more than a few weeks to go thru,.
Lastly I am suggesting an excellent book by Eric Reis whose book follows the guidelines set out by Blank.
Whenever I assembled a plan - I always used real numbers. Trying to set up 2 sets of books is bush league in my book, Use the most current you have and numbers you would use if you were running the business.
How you fund your operation will over the longer term dictate what your ultimate position is in the company.
The kind of organizations I started were all "Brick and Mortar" operations with lots of expensive capital equipment and as such "we as management and the employees" always ended up in the range of 30% to 40% with the balance going to the investors.
The flip side of that coin are some of the software operations that are funded that can be done by 2 or 3 great software designers and they sell their product thru a website they design and they can end up owning almost all or close to all as outside funds are not needed.
Many many operations can be funded with credit cards and when the capital requirements are small - then it is possible to end up with the key founders/management ending up with control of the operation.
It is my opinion - if the later can be accomplished - you are far better off.
There is a constant trade off between rate of growth and amount of usable cash in the company.
There are as many correct ways to grow a company as there are "Roads to Rome!"
If your "startup" requires more than yourself to make the idea and fledgling operation go - then probably the most important decision you will ever make will be "who are the initial team members."
This is true whether your team is a team of 1, 10, or more.
This also applies to your subcontractors, if you hire a contractor - whatever your relationship is - as long as someone is doing work for you - you want "the best."
My eldest son is a wonderful example of doing things the right way. He and his wife are the sole owners of his business. His degree is in Architecture and he also has a Masters.
He doesn't actually work as an Architect - but does build local high end homes in the greater Los Gatos, Almaden, Saratoga area. Architects bring their projects to him and then he builds what they designed and since he also understands the design end - he can make real world decisions and trade offs that obtain the desired results but built in a fashion that is less expensive or easier to fabricate.
He has done this for over 30 years.
Although his firm is miniscule in the sense it is just he and his wife he has built an enviable record as a trustworthy, honest, hard working and hard driving builder.
His "employees" consist of a Rolodex of approximately 50 of the best subcontractors in the Northern California.
Thru good times and bad times he and his wife have always treated their subcontractors fairly and have never been late on payments due.
Well - - in an industry that is known for contractors stringing their subs out - my sons reputation is Golden and he has the best of the best lining up to work on his projects because they know if they do their jobs properly - they will be paid on time!
Basically - my son has built a sound business and expects his subcontractors to bring "their best game" to his projects and all of them get outstanding references to potential new projects because they "do the work correctly and on time."
However you build your business there are correct ways to do things and ways which cut some corners.
You will set the tone for how your company, your employees, your partners, and your subcontractors operate.
IMHO there is only one way to go forward and I have outlined how I approach things.
It is up to you to choose your own path.
I have been on both sides of a "financial tidal wave."
Being on the correct side or "growing with it" can make everything easier and cover a lot of mistakes along the way.
Being on the wrong side of a major economic decline can make the job almost impossible or in some cases actually impossible and be extremely costly.
In Try and Catch the Wave - I address some of these situations.
The two links provided are also helpful in assessing the importance of timing.
I cannot overly emphasize the importance of establishing a relationship with a Mentor(s) which you will look up to and you can bounce ideas off of.
In my own career I have been fortunate to have 3 well known individuals who helped me immeasurably.
Something you need to tuck away in your "cranium."
In my opinion - since your relationship with a Mentor is such that whatever you do - can in some small way be a positive or negative mark on your Mentors reputation.
Treat a Mentor relationship knowing what it can do.
In my own case - the gentlemen I dealt with were well known and had wonderful reputations. I saw to it that I never ever did anything that would be considered a black mark that would hurt them in any way.
They also knew that whatever I told them was truthful and timely. Both good and bad.
No one likes "negative surprises" and that pertains particularly to Directors and Mentors.
My being "up-front" on everything with these men was the reason I could count on them investing in my seed round and becoming directors on multiple occasions.
Nurture a "Mentor/Mentee" relationship carefully and the rewards can be extraordinary.
Goal setting is as automatic to me as breathing.
At 82 - I have several goals that hopefully keeps me busy until I am 90.
At that point I will take stock of things and figure out whether I need more time and to do what.
I still value my time and I am hopefully using it in a positive manner and not squandering it as so many do.
At my age - my health and my ability to get around and be active is truly a gift and I treat it as such!
In the Epilogue and a few post course material there will a large number of interesting sites that I will include.
If you liked some of the things I outlined in the regular course material - there are likely to be several things that will "catch your fancy."
Depending on the acceptance of this project I may do others and would encourage topics that you feel would be helpful. If sufficient individuals suggest the same thing - that will go along way in directing how I might use my future time.Yac
Philippe Yaconelli has been an active Silicon Valley entrepreneur since 1967 having started and run several capital-intensive high tech companies.
Yac (as he likes to be called) served as the CEO of his operations. Two of the better known companies he founded were Caelus Memories which grew under his leadership to employ 1000 individuals and was a leader in its chosen field (rigid disk technology) and Caere Corporation which was listed on the NASDAQ for many years and was also a leader in its chosen field (Scanning and OCR Technology).
Bob Noyce , who was Chairman of Intel at the time Yac started Caere, was also the Chairman of Caere.
Yac has served on many boards and helped others fund and/or strategize their organizations.
In his career - Yac has also had to place one firm into Chapter 7 and took another thru a DIP into/out of 11. He has seen all sides of the "Success Equation!"
Yac also served as a Corporate VP of Marketing which included Sales in a Fortune 500 Company.
Over the years he has been a speaker at several West Coast universities and business gatherings.
He is a BSME graduate of USC and has attended graduate school. Additionally he completed a two year business course and a one year Dun & Bradstreet Financial program + numerous clinics and programs relative to Entrepreneurial endeavors.
His many hobbies over the years have included aerobatic flying (he had his own special built open place aerobatic plane built), martial arts (Yac and his three sons are lifetime students in a variety of martial arts systems) and all are active fitness buffs. Jazz Piano Playing is another of Yac’s passions and he has studied both classical as well as jazz piano for years.
Yac considers himself a lifelong “student of business.”